Monday, June 14, 2010

Margaret Thatcher as the first AGW skeptic

As recently as on Thursday, Christopher Booker was entertaining us on the French Riviera - using many tools that included his excellent knowledge of many Czech words. ;-)

However, on Thursday, the Telegraph published his article
Was Margaret Thatcher the first climate sceptic?
Booker reminds us of Thatcher's scientific background: the former British leader has actually received a postgraduate BSc degree in crystallography. In the late 1980s, she would be impressed by arguments by the likes of Hansen and Houghton, among others, and she would promote the AGW worries.

You may also remember The Global Warming Swindle by Martin Durkin who argued that when the miners went on strike, Thatcher needed to strengthen the case for nuclear energy and to show that CO2 was dangerous could have been helpful to achieve her goals.

I asked a famous ex-aide of hers about this question during a December 2009 AGW skeptical conference in Berlin and he has essentially answered that the legend is untrue, for example because the chronology doesn't work. If I remember well, the problem is that the strikes were relevant around 1984. But around 1988, they had been ended for years.

However, Christopher Booker tells us about yet another Thatcher: the author who wrote "Statecraft" (buy the book from at the top) in 2003. (I think that a picture of Klaus and Thatcher may be found in the book.) Long before it became popular to be a climate skeptic among the politicians, Margaret Thatcher dedicated a whole chapter to the critiques of the AGW movement that we could recognize. In some sense, she has recanted her previous views.

She claimed that the AGW movement neglects many key natural climate drivers such as the Sun, exaggerates the effect of CO2, and ignores the fact that a warming by a few degrees is beneficial, as seen e.g. in the Middle Ages.

These days, many people try to argue that the AGW panic stands above politics - and Thatcher's contributions to the birth of the IPCC and similar structures in the late 1980s (the IPCC was born in 1988) is often found convenient by the people who want to present AGW as a topic that unifies people of all political attitudes.

However, what Thatcher thought during the later years when she was both active and boasting all the experience from her unusual life seems to be an inconvenient truth.


  1. Ayn Rand expressed skepticism of global warming in one of her nonfiction books - I think "The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution." That was back in the late 60s/early 70s. Count her as the first skeptic I know of...

  2. The left is always looking for ways to sabotage free capitalist economies. Overpopulation, pollution, global warming. The science does not matter, when it is really all about politics.

    Would you like to exchange links?

    Mike "Bunkermeister" Creek